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Republicans Start New Battle Against Online Gambling

April 20, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – For a brief moment, with the PPA’s wooing of Republican Senator Jon Kyl and a growing tendency of some media-savvy U.S. conservatives to support the legalization of online gambling, it seemed that there was a chance that the American right wing would display bipartisanship and join Democrats in trying to get the UIGEA repealed.

Now, that glimmer of hope seems less likely that ever. A new report has surfaced showing that the Republicans have renewed their battle against the regulation of online casinos. Specifically, a memo circulating in the party outlines a plan to tie efforts to legalize online gambling in the U.S. to the Jack Abramoff political scandal.

“The prosecution and imprisonment of uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff was a political disaster for Republicans,” Dan Eggen writes at the Washington Post. “But now some GOP lawmakers are wagering that the scandal can be used against Democrats in a fight over legalizing Internet gambling. ‘While Jack himself is now imprisoned, many of his former associates continue to carry out Abramoff’s plan to legalize Internet gambling in the United States,’ the GOP memo reads.”

Such a move not only illustrates a renewed resistance to online gambling, it brings the debate to lower ground by invoking questionable associations and trying to taint the online gambling industry by association with a particularly distasteful scandal — ironically, one that originally came from the Republicans’ own camp.

Predictably, the Republicans are also pitching the battle on “moral” grounds. “Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement that he would continue to push for implementation of the 2006 law hardening the prohibition for online gaming. ‘Our children and families need this protection,’ Bachus said.”